Today marks a week since four Americans were taken in the Mexican city of Matamoros. Only two individuals returned safely and are currently back in the states today as their family and friends speak to the press about the crazy rollercoaster they’ve been on since March 3rd. Survivor Eric James Williams’s wife opened up today and admitted she had no idea that her husband was traveling to Mexico.
Eric joined his friends Latavia “Tay” McGee, Zindell Brown, Shaeed Woodard, and Cheryl Orange on a trip to Mexico so that McGee could get cosmetic surgery. Orange ended up staying behind in Texas because she did not have her ID. She was the one who alerted the authorities after her friends did not return. When they were found, Zindell and Shaeed were deceased. Eric sustained injuries to his legs, while Latavia McGee retained no injuries.
Cheryl admits that she has been struggling with the guilt of narrowly avoiding the incident. She told CNN, “I beat myself up in the beginning about that, and I have everybody telling me that I need to be grateful. I really wish I was by Tay’s side.” Orange seemed deeply disturbed when speaking with Anderson Cooper, and she struggled to recall the final moments with the group before they went on to Mexico without her. Cheryl says that the group was only supposed to be gone for 15 minutes after they dropped her off at the hotel. When the whole day had gone by, she knew something was wrong, so she called the law enforcement.
Orange friends would be snatched by Mexican Cartel as soon as they crossed the border in what some are calling a case of mistaken identity. After the two survivors were discovered, five men were also found in a truck, tied up with a note from the Cartel. In it, the Gulf Cartel admits that the men involved belonged to their organization but acted independently without their knowledge, so they turned them over to the authorities. Some reports state that the men involved believed the party to be Haitian smugglers that they had been on the lookout for.
Eric James Williams’s wife, Michelle Williams, says she has been in contact with her husband and is shocked about what happened to him. “I’m just glad to hear his voice,” she told CNN. Michelle Williams says she had no idea her husband was traveling to Mexico with Latavia “Tay” McGee, Zindell Brown, Shaeed Woodard, and Cheryl Orange. Eric told his wife he was he was out helping his friends. That was until the FBI showed up at her door. “I didn’t hear from him after Friday,” she told news outlets. “Friday morning, he texted me, and I texted him back immediately. He didn’t respond, so I’m going to assume that’s when he was ambushed.”
Eric’s wife says he is mourning the loss of Zindell and Shaeed, whom he considered brothers. No further statements have come out about Eric or Latavia, who are understandably shaken up and recovering from the ordeal. Cheryl says she was able to speak to Latavia and is happy she is safe but is also mourning their lost friends.
Yesterday the identity of another women who’s life was taken during the incident was revealed. 33-year-old Arely Servando was nearby during the incident and struck by the Cartel. Arely was a church worker who worked with kids at a summer school.